Would You Rather Have Friends or Author a New York Times Best Seller?

Would you rather have friends or author a New York Times best seller?

I’ve been asking myself this question, along with the more general “What am I willing to give up from my day to be a more prolific writer?” for three days, since I read this article on Cracked called “5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Life (Without Knowing It)“.

I really, honestly, truly don’t know. I would love to have a New York Times best seller. I don’t function well without friendships or at least some form of social life.

Would I be willing to give up my hobby of having pets? Hardly; it doesn’t take up much time, anyway, and I find it at least as enjoyable as writing.

What about video games, movies, or other hobbies such as knitting? It turns out that I don’t normally spend that much time on those things, either, certainly not an hour a day. I only do knitting while I do other things, anyway.

I’ve got to find a way to spend at least one hour a day writing, and I don’t know how to find this hour or what I can give up to do it. Perhaps more study is needed, or I just need to find a better why.

Why do I want to write? Because I enjoy it. Because I want to see my name in print. Because I want to touch people with my writing. Because it’s something I can share with people that I made without losing it, unlike a scarf or a clay animal. Because when people like my writing, I translate that as people liking me.

Because I enjoy it. I enjoy other things about equally, such as knitting, programming, taking care of animals, playing video games, and reading. All of those other things are easier to convince myself to do, for whatever reasons.

Because I want to see my name in print. The first thing that made me know I wanted to be a writer was seeing something I’d written in a magazine when I was about 12. They’d published everybody’s stories because it was a kids’ magazine, but mine was one of the ones selected for the first issue with them. That experience went to my head, and I want to experience it again and again. I’ve self-published a book on Amazon, but I’m not proud of it, and it isn’t enough. I need to do more. This is probably going to be my biggest motivation.

Because I want to touch people with my writing. If possible, I want to help people. I want to provide a source of the pleasure I’ve experienced through reading. This is also a big motivating factor.

Because it’s something I can share with people that I made without losing it, unlike a scarf or a clay animal. I love making things and have yet to find a craft I didn’t like (maybe felting, but only because wool is itchy and not because the craft itself wasn’t enjoyable). However, with most crafting, you make something, and if you give it to someone, you no longer have it. I can knit a scarf, but if I give it to my mom, it’s no longer mine. Writing remains mine, and I can make a book of my writing and give it to as many people as I wish. This is true for programming as well, however, so perhaps this reason is almost filled by my job.

Because when people like my writing, I translate that as people liking me. Therefore, if I can write well, I am likable. As you may have guessed from yesterday’s post, I have significant self esteem issues. The Cracked article above suggests that we don’t do what we “want” to do partly because we focus on the whole thing rather than “I need to do this today”, comparing a bacterial infection that requires special care twice a day and painful checkups twice a year with brushing your teeth in the morning. This is a wonderful example for most people, but by and large, it is extremely difficult to motivate myself even to brush my teeth. I’ve fallen out of the habit, so I don’t think about it every day, but even on the days when I do think about it, the trouble of taking care of myself doesn’t seem worth it at least 90% of the time. It’s no wonder, then, that I struggle to write, I suppose. I see myself as too unlikable to bother trying. This has gotten better over the years, so I could also say that people appearing to like me more saps some of my motivation for writing, perhaps the main reason I got into it in the first place.

I just wrote over 700 words today. If I can get myself to do that every day, I’m sure I could eventually write a book I could be proud of.

Would you rather have friends or author a New York Times best seller?


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